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About ljandgb

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  1. We typically travel with a multigenerational group of 8 so end up with private tours almost exclusively. It is the way to go if you can swing it, as if you're not loving something you can redirect. LOVE Split. By contrast, Dubrovnik was very "meh" for me. Fortunately, not going to be an issue for you. For your ports, I'd have to say the Uffizi was a disappointment. My friend and I left the tour halfway thru (this was not a private tour) muttering "if we see one more Madonna and child..." I really regret not spending that time at the Galileo museum instead.
  2. I'm the dissenter in that I did not love SPB, but I do agree that longer is always better on any cruise. We enjoyed our MSC cruise, though we got a tremendous deal on the YC. Like most have said, they were long days. We tend to be first off the ship and return about an hour before departure. MSC does have shorter port times, which I'm sure keeps their costs lower. Really check times before deciding. The Baltic ports are easy to DIY. For SPB, I'd caution that given the current pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, tour agencies may not be the the same come next year - gone, new owners, who knows?
  3. To be honest, I don't think an all day drive to see the glacier lagoon is worth it, but there are tours that do it, so obviously enough people are interested in it. The second half of the drive is particularly boring, as the landscape does not change much. There is a chance there will be no ice on the beach and little to no ice in the lagoon, so be prepared for that just in case. Most locals advise you to add 20% to any Google maps estimate. With a long port stay, I'd consider a jeep tour to the highlands, or Snafellsnes, or practically any other location that did not involve 12+ hours of driving. Just my opinion, feel free to ignore it. 🙂
  4. We did the Rhine with Croisieurope. Our meals were a set menu. If you knew ahead of time you would not like the main dish (it was posted near the front desk every morning), you could pre-order a chicken breast. I am an adventurous eater, and there were times that I was not so thrilled with the meal. Not a reason not to do the cruise, but if your granddaughters need choices, it may not work well for them. If they can roll with it, then Croisie was a great line. Our ship was smaller, and a more simply decorated, than many I've seen but it was impeccably clean and the crew was delightful.
  5. Daylight advances at something like 13 min/day, until you get to the "midnight sun" end of June (which is more like a very prolonged dusk) and then it decreases by the same amount. Depending on how much light vs dark you want, that's something to consider. The weather will be predictably unpredictable (sun, rain, sleet, frequently alternating every 30 minutes) no matter when you go, though it will be a bit warmer July/August. The actual cruising season is probably not long, given that both countries are on the Arctic circle. The ports in Iceland are very small with no real tourist infrastructure, with the exception of Reykjavik and to a certain extent Akureyri. You will be limited to the ship's excursions in most places. A cruise is not the best way to see Iceland, though I do understand why some people prefer it.
  6. I've never ridden bikes where you're asking about, but our walking tour guide in Copenhagen called the bike lanes "the kill zone" and warned us repeatedly not to wander into them. They start biking on their own very young there (our guide said 7-8 yrs) and I can totally see how the PP did not feel up to speed, no pun intended.
  7. Just to be clear, you need a few dollars worth of local currency in coins. Euros work fine if it's an attendant with a basket, but local currency might be necessary if it's a slot operated door or turnstile. It's usually the equivalent of 50 cents or so. This is more important if you are DIY'ing your excursion. If going with the ship, I'm going to guess they'll take you to free toilets.
  8. We needed cash a handful of times, for a hot dog stand and several public toilets. It's good to have just a few dollars in coins for toilets. Almost everyone takes CC. I think it's Sweden that has actively been pushing to go cashless.
  9. I do everything cruisemom42 does, with my Pacsafe bag. I like that it locks, in case something like what lisiamc mentioned happens. I like that you can lock/unlock the strap so I can weave it into a chair for those times I don't want to wear my purse while eating. As an added measure, it's safety cone orange. NOT a color I would use at home, but I've heard of bags being taken at security screenings (such as to get into the Eiffel Tower) and it's harder to walk away with a bright orange purse.
  10. Absolutely do the south coast. You could consider Into the Volcano for day 2, that would probably really appeal to the kids, though it is not cheap. You could find a highlands tour perhaps, that will be a very different sort of scenery. I've been to Iceland twice and still haven't been to the Golden Circle. It's the "go to" tourist tour but everything I've read says it's not as majestic as the south coast or north. There are geysers, though, which the kids may like. The BL is nice, but might be pretty boring for the kids after a short while. It's a spa, not a recreational pool, and loud frolicking would be looked down upon. For the cost, it might not be worth it. I keep hearing good things about the Flyover Iceland show. Reykjavik itself is nice, but I would absolutely skip it and see the countryside instead.
  11. If you plug Isafjordur in the search box, several threads come up. There will not be a lot, as it's a small hamlet. Plan early if you want to do something not offered by the ship.
  12. We did a Steel Donkey bike tour. It was a great way to see a LOT of the city with minimal effort. The city is flat and has many pedestrian/bike only streets. They even have eBikes if you don't want to pedal much at all.
  13. Don't forget that in July you will only have minimal "night" so could push a tour to a very late finish time.
  14. Reykjavik and Akureyri have big bus tours, like Grey Line, that will go out to the main sites, and tour providers with smaller groups as well. For the smaller ports, you may be stuck with what the ship offers as those hamlets have little infrastructure for the few cruises that come thru. Definitely search TripAdvisor and the travel forum there. You'll get a good idea of what's available in the main towns and if there's anything at all in the smaller ones. I've not cruised Iceland so can't comment on how close to shore you are.
  15. In a different vein, we went to the Opera House and saw the Paris Opera Ballet. It was excellent, and we ended up sitting about 20 feet from the Queen. The free walking tour is a great way to get oriented to the city. It is eminently walkable, and once you know the landmarks very easy to navigate.
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